The section dedicated to Italian (http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/) on the BBC Languages site has a reach content regarding instructional material for learning Italian, by anyone interested in this language. It has a very clear layout and it is relatively easy to browse. The website contains quizes so that one can test her/his level of Italian in general, after which those interested are offered the possibility to browse for courses suited to their level. There also quizes and games for testing more specificaly the level of knowledge in listening comprehension (strategies and tips are provided for improving) or some cultural topics.
The three online courses offered on this site address the beginner's level. For more advanced Italian learners, the BBC Languages site offers an audio guide to Italian slang, organized by different topic categories like: food, family, drinking etc., Italian for business and links to outside resources containing scripts of traveling TV programs. The beginner courses are generally organized based on a language functions syllabus, contain grammar explanations in English, bilingual vocabulary lists, dialogues with audio files, so that students can listen to at their own pace and practice pronunciation, as well as activities for practicing grammar and vocabulary.
But I liked best one course in particular, "Italian steps", because I found it the most complete and interactive. "Italian steps" is organized in topics and contains real life situations presented through short videos shot in Italy and which offer the basis for pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar lessons and exercises that offer instant feed back to students. There are also activities meant to improve the speaking and writing skills, as well as a cultural reading in English at the end of each lesson. The student has also the possibility to check fast her/his overall level of Italian language through an activity that involves listening comprehension and translation, as well as to keep track of her/his progress by noting in a blog coments on particular language issues she/he met throughout the lessons, so that she/he can easily go back and review.
The BBC Language website gives also learners of Italian (or other foreign languages) the opportunity to share in a forum ideas about foreign languages related topics or their experiences with foreign languages.
The strengh of this site, as well as of the Italian courses offered here, is the authenticity of the internal and external material and resources which are focused on everyday life culture, travelling and mass media. Some might find it limitative though, as it lacks other authentic materials like literary texts, for example, but I guess this is normal, being a language website hosted by BBC. Regarding the language courses, I wish they offered more practice to students and maybe the possibility to record their own pronunciation in audio files, so that they can compare it with the original recordings and keep track of their progress.